Friday, February 21, 2020
Pakistan to remain on FATF Grey List till June 2020; watchdog warns of action if Islamabad fails to check terror funding
Global terror financing watchdog FATF on Friday decided continuation of Pakistan in the 'Grey List' and warned the country of stern action if it fails to check the flow of money to terror groups like the LeT and the JeM, sources said. The decision was taken at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary in Paris. The FATF decided to continue Pakistan in the 'Grey List'. The FATF has also warned Pakistan that if it does not complete a full action plan by June, it could lead to consequences on its businesses, a source said. The plenary noted that Pakistan addressed only a few of the 27 tasks given to it in controlling funding to terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Hizbul Mujahideen, which are responsible for a series of attacks in India. The FATF said Pakistan has to swiftly complete its full action plan by June, the source said. With Pakistan's continuation in the 'Grey List', it will be difficult for the country to get financial aid from the IMF, the World Bank, the ADB and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation. If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directive, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country in the 'Black List' along with North Korea and Iran. India has been maintaining that Pakistan extends regular support to terror groups like the LeT, the JeM and the Hizbul Mujahideen, whose prime target is India, and has urged the FATF to take action against Islamabad. Pakistan is believed to have received strong backing from Malaysia but failed to impress western nations due to India's consistent efforts by providing materials and evidence on Pakistan's inaction to check funding to terror groups operating from its soil. Pakistan needed 12 votes out of 39 to exit the 'Grey List' and move to the 'White List'. To avoid the "Black List", it needs the support of three countries. The 'Grey Listing' of Pakistan came three days after a sub-group of the FATF recommended continuation of the country in it. The FATF meeting, from 16 to 21 February, was held a week after an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan sentenced Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack and founder of the LeT, to 11 years in two terror financing cases. The Pakistani court's judgment came ostensibly to please the FATF and western countries so that the country can exit the 'Grey List'. Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist on whom the US has placed a $10 million bounty, was arrested on 17 July, 2019, in the terror financing cases. The 70-year-old fiery cleric is lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan. Pakistan has also recently informed the FATF that JeM founder Masood Azhar and his family are "missing". It has claimed that there were only 16 UN designated terrorists in Pakistan, of which "seven are dead". Out of the nine who are alive, seven had applied to the UN for exemption from financial and travel restrictions. In the last month's FATF meeting in Beijing, Pakistan got support of Malaysia and Turkey besides FATF current chair China. In the Beijing meeting, Pakistan provided a list of its action taken to comply with FATF directions. Pakistan was placed on the 'Grey List' by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the 'Black List'. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. It currently has 39 members, including two regional organisations the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF consultations and its Asia Pacific Group. https://www.firstpost.com/world/pakistan-to-remain-on-fatf-grey-list-till-june-2020-watchdog-warns-of-action-if-islamabad-fails-to-check-terror-funding-8071481.html
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari slammed the government on Friday, saying that the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) mission had arrived in Pakistan to hold talks with its own representatives.
Bilawal was speaking to media when he lashed out at the government, saying that the IMF mission had arrived in Pakistan to hold negotiations with its own people. He accused the incumbent government of robbing the people of their economic rights, saying that when the PPP was in power, it approached the IMF but protected the people's interests.
“Whenever they wanted to burden the people of Pakistan then we would fight them,” said Bilawal while talking about the PPP’s decision to approach the IMF.
“The government is not fulfilling the promises it made, and the promises they made were incorrect,” said the PPP chairman. He further lamented that the government took over a year to approach the IMF over a bailout package.
On July 3, the IMF Executive Board had approved a three-year bailout package worth $6 billion to Pakistan. Soon after the agreement was signed, Pakistan had received the first tranche of a loan of $991.4 million from the fund.
The PPP chairman said that the government cannot document the economy at one go when it knows that a “huge section of Pakistan’s economy is undocumented”.
“You are making the businesses afraid. By setting the CNIC requirement you have taken the energy out of the economy,” lamented Bilawal. He added that the government needs to stop believing that those who are not in the tax net are corrupt.
“It is your system which is corrupt and inefficient,” said the PPP chairman.
Addressing a meeting of PPP women wing in Lahore, Bilawal Bhutto said that his party has rendered immense sacrifices for the restoration of democracy and upholding supremacy of the constitution in the country.
Criticizing the incumbent government for rising inflation and unemployment, the PPP chairman urged the people to stand for their rights.
During its tenure, the PPP-led government had initiated a war against the menace of terrorism and faced the challenges, he added.
Earlier on February 19, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talking to the media in Islamabad had said that he and his political party will not sit idly by as Pakistanis are dealing with rising inflation.
The PPP chairman demanded of the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to tear away the written agreement between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The politician had said that he was ready to work alongside the federal government to alleviate the burden of inflation from the masses.